According to prosecutors, North Yorkshire police did “not respond adequately” when getting word about the murderous plans being hatched by Thomas Wyllie and Alex Bolland.
In September, the two boys, who were just 14 at the time of the plotting, drew up a “hit-list” of targets of their planned attack at their school in Northallerton, Yorkshire.
The pair, who have now been given 10 and 12-year custodial sentences, started discussing a school shooting and reading bomb-making instructions in May last year. In September, Bolland told a schoolgirl that they were planning to carry out a shooting.
The following day, the girl told a teacher about what she had heard, who in turn, alerted the police.
The teacher, who spoke to Bolland, told Leeds Crown Court that the boy “started off by saying that he had sent the messages because some students were making his life in school intolerable.”
“He felt that they needed dealing with severely. He said they needed killing,” the teacher added..
Police officers spoke to both plotters separately at home after the incident, when Bolland told them he “planned to go into school with a firearm in order to get rid of those who had wronged them.”
However, even though Bollard gave “clear and unvarnished confessions” to police officers, he was not arrested for a whole month.
Prosecutors said North Yorkshire Police did “not respond adequately” to the threat until a specialist counter-terror team took over the investigation a month later.
The would-be murderers were said to have "hero-worshipped" Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the teenagers who murdered 12 students and a teacher at the Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999.
They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. After exchanging gunfire with police officers, the pair committed suicide.